RE: [Discuss-sudbury-model] scientific backing of Sudbury

From: Eva Lobach <>
Date: Wed Jan 18 11:22:00 2006

Hi Sandra,

a warm hello from someone involved in De Ruimte, one of the sudbury-type
schools in Netherlands.

Since about a year we have established a contact with researchers at the
University of Leiden here in The Netherlands, who are very interested in our
Very recently (ink is still wet) a first study is completed that shows that
in terms of well-being, kids at our school have much less complaints like
headaches, feeling tired, belly aches, etc.

More studies are planned.

In our situation in The Netherlands, where the government and its
representatives respond with panic and suppression to a democratic school
like ours, it seems very important to establish goodwill and enthusiasm
among scientists and others who might help to reassure the powers-that-be of
the innocence and even advantages of our approach to learning and education.

Being a scientist myself (though not in education), I feel that it is a good
idea to try to establish the quality of various forms of education, whether
"regular" or not. Granted, it is not straightforward, but it is a good
exercise in itself to establish what abilities and knowledge young adults
preferably have when they leave the school. Presumably, at that point in
their life they have become effective members of the society. This exercise
makes you reflect on how a school can help or hinder this development into
an effective adult, reasoning from the goal backwards to what it needs to
get there.
If in addition it turns out to be possible to show reliably whether a school
'delivers' these effective adults at graduation or not, we will be able to
evaluate different approaches and etablish which one is the most helpful.
This, it seems to me, is very valuable knowledge for students, parents, and
governments alike.

Eva Lobach

De Ruimte, Soest, The Netherlands

ps. Sandra, are you aware that there will be a meeting of the recently
erected Dutch "Platform of Democratic Schools" this Saturday in The
Netherlands. You can download an invitation here:
The results of the study I mentioned above will be presented at this
meeting. We're hoping to build our network further and mutual collaboration
could be helpful to us both.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:discuss-sudbury-
>] On Behalf Of David Rovner
> Sent: woensdag 18 januari 2006 14:45
> To:
> Subject: Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model] scientific backing of Sudbury
> Dear Sandra,
> I think you should reformulate your request. Can you give scientific
> backing
> to a "regular" school ?
> I think a good or a bad education and/or schooling are very difficult
> things
> to demonstrate scientifically if at all.
> It is more of a social and philosophical approach. Still there have been
> some attempts to find out the effects on children of Sudbury education.
> For
> instance, "Legacy of Trust: Life After the Sudbury Valley School
> Experience," or "The Pursuit of Happiness: The Lives of Sudbury Valley
> Alumni" -- "what becomes of students who attended Sudbury Valley as they
> pursue their lives as adults? This book explores the lives of former
> students who spent their formative years at the school. It examines in
> depth
> their values, their character, and their careers, drawing extensively on
> their own words. A unique contribution to the literature that evaluates
> schools and educational philosophies."
> See: .
> I would also suggest to take a look at, ,
> for instance.
> Cheers,
> ~ David
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Marc en Sandra" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2006 12:02 PM
> Subject: [Discuss-sudbury-model] scientific backing of Sudbury
> >
> > Hi,
> > I'm a member of a new startup group in Brussels (Belgium), we would like
> to
> > create a Sudbury school in our area and are working hard on this. One of
> the
> > things coming up in the process is: have any scientific studies been
> > conducted on the positive effects on children of Sudbury education (I
> mean,
> > in terms of learning success, socialization, development of
> responsibility,
> > values, anything). We as starters feel certain enough about the enormous
> > potential of Sudbury for our kids, but there is of course 'the others':
> > critical outsiders, anxious and doubting parents, and especially local
> > education authorities to whom we will have to go and explain about our
> > project somewhere in the near future. It would be a great help if we
> could
> > provide some outside evidence that 'Sudbury works' and not only our own
> > conviction.
> > I also see this in a lager sense: in fact I am gathering material from
> > psychologists and other scientists that supports the ideas that are
> > fundamental to Sudbury (e.g. concepts of 'learned helplessness' and
> > 'intrinsic motivation', publications of John Holt etc.).
> > Does anyone have any interesting information about this?
> > Thanks in advance,
> > Sandra Roobaert
> _______________________________________________
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Received on Wed Jan 18 2006 - 11:21:47 EST

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